Flavour Bans and the Future of Vaping in the UK

Flavour Bans and the Future of Vaping in the UK

It’s time for vapers to step up and make a difference.

22 November 2023 | Hannah Rubery

Flavour Bans and the Future of Vaping in the UK (Image)

The vaping industry in the United Kingdom has been a beacon of innovation and harm reduction, offering a plethora of options for smokers looking to quit traditional cigarettes. However, this vibrant landscape is now facing a potential upheaval. Recent indications from the UK government suggest that a series of regulatory changes may be on the horizon, including the possibility of a vape flavour ban, restrictions on disposable vapes, and even a potential tax hike. This could significantly alter the vaping experience for many consumers and may also impact the market dynamics for countless brands. As we delve into this topic, we will explore the potential implications of these proposed changes on the UK's vaping industry and its consumers.

The debate on banning disposable vapes

The potential ban on disposable vapes has been a hot topic in the vaping community for quite some time. Just when we thought we had the gist of it all, the recent King's Speech threw a curveball, hinting at further restrictions. It's like expecting rain and getting a hailstorm! These potential new measures could mean changes to the very essence of vaping - the flavours. And if that weren't enough to make your vape coil quiver, there's also talk of plain packaging and a tax hike in the mix. If these changes come into effect, we could be seeing a whole new, and possibly pricier, vaping landscape in the UK.

Calls for Flavour Bans, Tax Hike and Plain Packaging

So you might be wondering, "Why on earth would anyone think of putting a ban on lovely rainbow candy or smooth caramel macchiato vape flavours?" Well, the idea behind this proposed flavour ban is to make vaping less appealing to children. You see, some reckon that the bright packaging and delicious flavours are enticing youngsters to try vaping - despite adults also loving sweet flavours and colourful products.

And how about the plain packaging, you ask? Also, a move to deter the youth. The theory is that if vape products look as dreary as a rainy Monday morning in Manchester, they would lose their allure for the under-age crowd.

And then there’s the proposed tax hike. The idea here is if you make something more expensive, people will think twice before buying. They’re hoping that a price rise would hit the potential under-age buyers' pockets hard enough to make them reconsider vaping.

But here's the problem. While these measures might be aimed at protecting under-age vapers, they could end up impacting adult smokers who are trying to quit cigarettes. A huge problem considering the benefits vaping has on helping smokers.

What Studies Have Had to Say About Adults & Flavour

If you're an ex-smoker who's kicked the habit thanks to vaping, you'd know how the flavour game is a real deal-breaker. That's right, folks - it's not just the kiddos who are sweet-toothed! Grown-ups dig those sweet and fruity flavours just as much. And it's not just us saying it, there's actual research backing up these claims.

According to a study published in the journal 'Addictive Behaviours', flavours play a significant role in the vaping experience, especially for adults trying to ditch the cigs. It found that most adult vapers preferred sweet and fruity flavours over tobacco or menthol. In fact, a study on consumers noted the exact same thing - vapers wanted and needed flavours to be able to quit cigarettes, and when flavours were banned, many went back to smoking.

Another research paper published in the 'Journal of the American Heart Association' emphasizes the importance of flavours in helping smokers quit. The study found that vapers who used flavoured e-cigarettes were more likely to quit smoking than those who vaped traditional tobacco flavours.

The Real Issue at Hand

The elephant in the room that we need to address is the rogue retailers who are selling vape products to under-age customers. There are some unscrupulous retailers out there who are quite happy to flout the rules for a quick buck. Vape products are age restricted and should not be legally sold to those under the age of 18 and yet somehow, those under-age are being able to purchase vapes.

These rogues are what is potentially destroying the UK vaping industry and yet they're slipping through the net while flavours and packaging are getting all the flak. The focus needs to shift to stricter enforcement of sales regulations and heavier penalties for those who break them. Because let's face it, no matter how bland the packaging or how foul the flavour, if a retailer is willing to sell it to a child, they’re going to get their hands on it. So, isn't it high time the government blew the whistle on these cowboy retailers instead of potentially punishing those looking for a less harmful alternative to cigarettes?

Have your say and let the government know your thoughts on the matter by taking part in their open consultation to the public regarding vape flavours, packaging and the potential tax hike.